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The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

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Defending your home, and more importantly your own life and the lives of your loved ones, is a serious undertaking. If there is one thing that is true out there in the world of home defense it is that there are options.

Of course, specific needs can vary based on the individual and the layout of the home. An urban apartment dweller will have very different requirements than a rural rancher with thousands of acres.

But if you can own a gun where you live, these are the first five firearms we recommend for someone interested in self-protection in their home.

1. Pump shotgun

Based on reading Internet forums, one might conclude that the shotgun is an obsolete and antiquated tool for home defense. However, the shotgun has certain advantages that cannot be matched by any other weapon.

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First, there is the power factor. The shotgun may not be able to reach out and touch someone at 200 yards, but in the confines of your home, very few threats will engage you at a great distance. At close range, the shotgun is king when used in 12 gauge or 20 gauge and stoked with the appropriate loads like No. 4 Buck shot.

A short barrel will make the shotgun more maneuverable within the confines of the home. The federal legal limit is 18 inches. Anything less will require a federal tax stamp and National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. I recommend using a comfortable butt stock and attaching a white light to identify threats in the dark.

2. Handgun

The actual brand is not important, but I recommend something reliable with a minimum caliber of 38 special or 380 ACP.

For residents in areas of the country where gun ownership is restricted, I highly recommend choosing the same type of pistol and ammunition in use by local law enforcement, if permitted.

The only other requirement I look for is a rail to mount a flashlight and perhaps the addition of fiber optic sights (tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk).Backup handgun

3. Backup handgun

The First 5 Guns You Should Buy For Home Defense

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Sometimes a more discreet handgun is needed. Maybe one that can be quickly dropped in the pocket of a robe when answering the door or checking on a strange noise in the basement. For this I prefer a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 Special with an interior or concealed hammer.

4. Rifle

It may seem like overkill for home defense, but sometimes your home or business may be attacked by multiple opponents – particularly in a riot-type situation. And threats may appear beyond 25 feet, with rifles of their own.

This is rare, but it can happen and when it does an AR-15 variant may be more comforting than a 380 ACP pistol.

I like to keep my rifles simple with a mounted flashlight, sling and usually a sight of some type.

5. Pistol caliber carbine

A rifle chambered in a handgun caliber may seem like an unusual choice as the extra barrel length seldom offers a ballistic advantage. But optics or simply the longer sight radius and stable shooting platform makes these carbines more accurate. Also, they can be legally bought by adults 18 and over. In certain areas, handguns cannot be purchased until a person is 21.

I recommend various AR-15 carbines chambered in 9mm: the KRISS Vector in 9mm or 45 ACP, or various lever-action rifles chambered in 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.

The disadvantages of the long gun come into play when the homeowner needs to call 911 yet still remain armed. For this reason, I recommend the use of slings – or even a pistol grip – to hold and control the weapon with one hand while calling the police.

What would you add to the list? Share your gun advice in the section below:

Pump Shotguns Have One BIG Advantage Over Other Shotguns. Read More Here.

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  1. The often overlooked factor for home defense (inside the home) is how loud the weapon is. A rifle or shotgun fired inside a room is likely to cause permanent hearing loss for everyone in the room. This is where a pistol caliber carbine is a real advantage. It is both more accurate than a handgun and is quieter due to the longer barrel having much less muzzle blast.

  2. @ #5, good concept , one brand I would recommend is Hi Point Firearms. %100 made in USA,with lifetime warranty,you can get carbine/pistol combos, in >.380 ,9mm ..40 sw ,.45 acp , that use interchangeable mags as well as cal , brand new for +/- $700.

    • Hi-Point makes kinda crap guns. But…… They work, they are cheap and they replace/repair with no bitching or charge backs. Great company with an entry level product. Not very good for extended range use but most people in bad areas who need a gun won’t shoot more then 50 rounds out of their gun ever so perfect, (plus their carbine isn’t half bad although the plastic does feel a bit cruddy).

  3. Glad I have this suggested protocol in place. Have a 9mm pistol as well as my CC backup in that caliber; along with a carbine in 9mm. Also, an AR, a drum shotgun and my dad’s ‘ol 30.06. Also, a 22 rifle and auto 22 pistol for cheap practice. Oh yeah, forgot the Judge, .45/.410. Try to have 1000 rounds for each caliber.

  4. A 9mm with a silencer – easy to maneuver, quiet and VERY effective at close range.

    I use Bulldog critical defense loads

  5. I recommend the Taurus Judge .45/.410 chambered with the Winchester PDX-1 loads. The .410 has 3 copper disc that are very nasty plus a dozen played BB’s behind it. The PDX-1 hollowpoints expand to 1.5 X their size and break apart similar to the black talons of yesteryear.

    I also recommend a good set of ear muffs stored where your go to gun is, due to excessive noise that will ensue. If you live where it is permissible, a noise suppressor of any kind will greatly increase your chances of survival.

    • We keep the S&W Governor in a central location for any member of the family to grab in an emergency. The cylinder is strategically loaded with a combo of 2 .45’s and 4 .410’s. The biggest drawback to the Judge and the Governor is the lack of a rail to add a light and laser. Sure, you can get a Crimson Trace grip, but no light. It’s a fine backup, but each of my family members sleep comfortably with their own 1911 on their nightstands. Call me paranoid, but I keep a CMMG AR 8.5″ 9mm SBR w/pressure laser & light nestled by my bedside. Yes, we have a shotgun, but it’s in the safe, only used for skeet and occasional wild turkey hunting.
      Combine this with a large dog that barks at a mouse fart, and we all sleep comfortably.

  6. Top 5 home defense guns can be different depending on your location. Urban environments are considerably different than rural areas. Living in a Rural area, (and looking at potential larger scale societal issues), I would make one change to the list. Rather than a pistol caliber carbine I would add a large caliber rifle. (308 caliber or larger) In Montana like other western states you may want to reach out over a longer range to fend off predators. I would also say that ‘home defense’ would include larger 4 leg animals, bear, elk, and moose which require the larger caliber knock down power.

  7. My choice is Taurus Bull in .45 Long Colt, loaded with number 6 shot .410 shotgun shells Double ought buck is not needed across the room. Jeff Cooper said that across the room birdshot will do nicely Why ruin part of your wall with buckshot? Leave buskshot to SWAT teams and movies..

  8. I appreciate your articles on guns, but I have a somewhat special problem. Due to diabetic neuropathy I have very very little strength in my fingers and little touch sensitivity, making it very difficult to work with magazine loads. A revolver would suit me much better as less finger strength is needed. What recommendations would you make for the potential revolver user in your audience.
    Thanks in advance, Don

    • Hey Don,
      I have the same problem but in my feet (non-diabetic). But you might want to look into larger caliber revolver. .38 cal would work but I am thinking .45 acp or .45 long Colt and speed loader to match. Speed loader would be larger ie easier to handle. Most gun shops would be able to point you in the right direction with this. The only issue then would be larger gun more weight in your hands. You’ll have to find that balance for what works for you. Good Luck.

  9. #5 cell phone and gun control…Most, if not all cell phones have voice call apps. Learn to use it and put it on speaker that way both hands can be freed up more quickly and the 911 operator can record what is happening if you can not respond with your hands you can with your voice.
    Also Beretta CX series puts out a carbine in 9mm, 40 cal and 45. acp with a pistol grip. Great guns, but different from AR platform, not better just more options.

  10. Bought Hi Point 9mm and 40 cal. Both cost less than $300. They allow us to carry one cal. ammo for our sidearms and carbine instead of 2. We punch holes in the black at 100 yards.

  11. I would recommend main and backup in same cal.mine r xdm 45 and xd mod 2. subcompact u now have 2 guns same cal and same has xdm compact also same cal and mags.makes more sense.another alternative which I also have is the 5.7 handgun and ps 90 carbine same caliber, lightweight and will pent rate body armor

  12. Good advice in general, I wouldn’t dare use my rifle in a home defense situation. M-14 in .308 and 20 round magazines. Far to much fire power. I would end up with red parts dripping off the ceiling and holes in houses for blocks around me. Good points about the shotgun. This is personal preference. But I like 3 inch mags with BB shot. Plenty of penetration. I.E. walls, doors, possible body armor on the bad guys. And lots and lots of knock down. Has a real kick tho. So better hang on to your hat when you pull that trigger! Last point is probably an obvious one. But have lots of ammo on hand. I have been in parts of the U.S. were 5-10, sometimes up to 20 gang bangers break into your house. kill everyone inside. just to steal your stuff for drug money. its sickening but unfortunately it happens all the time. You may be thinking, well that cant happen to me. Well, it can. So best to be prepared.

    Keep up the good advice. well done =)

  13. Ixnay on the flashlights- helps the bad guys know where to point their weapons.

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